UNICEF, Stakeholders Excited over Progress by Imo Primary Health Care Development Agency


Amby Uneze in Owerri

The progress made by the Imo State Primary Health Care Development Agency (ISDPHA) in providing health care delivery under one roof has been commended by the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), Enugu Field Office and other stakeholders in the health sector, especially in an effort to develop regulations that would fast-track the process and reduce bureaucracy to achieve results in the health sector.

UNICEF and other relevant stakeholders who converged in Awka, Anambra State to design documents for the actualisation of primary health care system in Imo state said Primary Health Care (PHC) is seriously being reinvigorated in the state as efforts are being put together to have a positive change in the health care delivery so that citizens would suffer less health-wise.

Addressing the key stakeholders at Awka, capital of Anambra state for a four-day meeting to develop the regulations of the primary health care document, Imo State governor, Chief Rochas Okorocha stressed his determination to leverage on the partnership with UNICEF to achieve unimaginable progress in the primary health care per ward, under one roof programme.

The governor who was represented by the immediate past Medical Director of Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Owerri, Dr. (Mrs.) Angela Uwakwem said the meeting provided the opportunity to reach out to the stakeholders in the primary health care in the state, stating “Imo is one step ahead of other states in the primary health care”.

“We are here to fast-track PHC under one roof. The governor has a desire to have a more positive change in the health care delivery. Government is determined to make it work so that people will suffer less with whatever we have. It is about determination. We need to change the situation in the health system. Let’s work as a team to move Imo forward health-wise. Our approach towards doing the right thing is paramount”, he said.

Presenting his address, Chairman of Imo State Primary Health Care Development Agency (ISPHCDA), Dr. Nwakaudu Ndubueze described the meeting as epochal, as it would be a on record that the agency was number one in the Southern part of the country to embark on such revolution, making the state the fastest developing agency to reposition PHC system in Nigeria.

While commending the governor Okorocha for approving the harmonisation and transfer of the relevant health workers that would make up the agency as efforts were in top gear towards making sure that the secretariat of the agency assumed its befitting status for its smooth operation, the chairman also expressed satisfaction for UNICEF’s support and collaboration in realising the benefit of the partnership.

He observed that the Nigeria health policy recognises PHC as the cardinal point into the three tier health system and by extension the state primary health care development agency, adding that it was the PHC system that provides most basic health services available to vast majority of citizens living in the rural communities.
“To achieve comprehensive PHC under one roof in the state in the face of harsh economic realities, new innovations, strategic and other challenges, it therefore, became imperative that the state will develop her guidelines and regulations for the delivery of PHC services in the state”, he said.

In his remarks, the agency’s Executive Secretary, Dr. Emma Emukah reminded the stakeholders of their role to pioneer the process of the development of the regulation, stating “we want to come up with policies that would fast-track the process, reduce bureaucracy so that we get expected results”.

Emukah added that the objective of the meeting included the development of rules guiding the operations of PHC in Imo state; develop human resources for health, finance and accounting administration, procurement, and supply chain management for the overall functional of the agency at the state, local government and ward levels, as well provide standards for the care of patients in the referral and also in the reporting of health activities.
He said after this formulation, “what we now do is to implement, to ensure that every ward has a functional primary health centre, that the staff members are properly positioned to render adequate care to the people. We are hoping that by mid-August we will inaugurate LGA health authorities for adequate community participation”.

The State Immunisation Officer (SIO) and the programme Anchor person, Mr. David Onyewuchi expressed delight on the interest of stakeholders in formulating the relevant documents that would enable the agency function efficiently.